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Cities Fight Federal Snooping

Cities across the country are passing resolutions to counteract new Federal snooping legislation. Oakland, California, is now the 20th city to pass a resolution barring employees, including librarians and policemen, from collaborating with federal officials who try to use their new power to investigate residents.

The Patriot Act was rushed through Congress a month after 911 and many people fear it will fundamentally and permanently restrict Americans' legal rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution. The act allows the government to secretly monitor political groups, seize library records and tap phones and Internet connections. The federal government says it needs the expanded powers in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

Librarians across the U.S. are banding together to oppose being forced to give out their patrons? book-borrowing and internet surfing information. One librarian has created signs to warn library users such as, "We're Sorry! Due to National Security concerns, we are unable to tell you if your Internet surfing habits, passwords and e-mail content are being monitored by federal agents; please act appropriately."

Massachusetts activist Nancy Talanian successfully lobbied for passage of an anti-Patriot Act resolution in her hometown of Northhampton, Massachusetts. Her website shows other cities how to do it too.

Politically, things are looking bad lately. Maybe we need to learn How to Read Signs & Omens. To Listen to Whitley?s interview with author Sarv Bluestone, click ?Listen Now? on our masthead.

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